It is not merely the scenery, or the mountain breeze, or the open spaces that delight us. The outdoors embody history, primitive experiences, and elements capable of lifting the spirit.
The current issue of the Birds and Blooms newsletter has an article that offers a nice overview of urban birding.
The winter edition of the Parks Department's quarterly publication, Outdoors in NYC, is available online now in a PDF version. Outdoors in NYC lists all of the free activities and programs throughout the parks system in the five boroughs. From Winter Photography to Emergency Preparedness, the Urban Park Rangers have programs that are perfect for individuals and families—and all are free!
The blog at Children and Nature Network has a great post lamenting the decline of nature as a theme in children's literature and recommending books for children that can help spark interest in nature. They cite several of my favorites, including Abel's Island, My Side of the Mountain, and The Lord of the Rings. Read it in full here.
The Appalachian Mountain Club's Equipped blog has an interesting post summarizing some highlights of the 2013 American Camper Report. An estimated 13% of Americans went camping in 2012, 10% of them for the first time.
It's finally happened: the boys are at the age to rebel against what their parents want, and for us now that means going camping. Sigh. They actually just grumbled a bit about going and of course had a great time once we set off. That was a couple of hours later than we had hoped/planned; we weren't all packed and ready to go till about 5:30. The drive is about two and a half hours without traffic, and we also had to stop for some groceries and dinner on the way. Traffic getting out of the city wasn't too terrible, but we didn't stop until after 8, somewhere between Islip and Patchogue.
The Fall issue of the New York Parks Department event and activity guide, Outdoors in NYC is available for download now.
AMC Outdoors has a great article about a family camping trip to Floyd Bennett Field. Although I've known about the camping there and have been to Floyd Bennett for other activities many times, I've never camped there myself. If you want to know what it's like, read the AMC Outdoors story.
Sierra Magazine's The Green Life blog has a great piece on sustainable foraging. It offers some useful insights and advice if you're interested in wild foods but concerned about potential damage to native plant populations.
I normally wouldn't go on an organized hike with an outfitter because in general, we have our own expertise. We don't have our own car, however, in which to escape the city heat. I've always wanted to do a yoga or meditation retreat, but they've always seemed too expensive and time-consuming. I happened to spot an Amazon Local deal for a one-day yoga hike with Destination Backcountry Adventures, and one of the dates was July 16, while all my boys are away at Scout camp or the National Jamboree, so it seemed perfect.